Turkish far-right group beat Afghan man and shared video on social media

A new Turkish far-right group shared a video on social media yesterday showing one of their members beating an Afghan refugee in an apparent hate crime, the Duvar news website reported.

The group, which calls themselves “Ataman Kardeşliği” (Ataman Brotherhood), said the attack was to “commemorate” a 17-year-old Turkish girl who died in November after being attacked by an Afghan man.

In the video the group said they were patrolling the streets and beat up a man whom they noticed was Afghan. They added that they would continue their attacks on Afghans and all refugees.

This is not the first video released by the group where they can be seen beating refugees. In September the group was taped beating a Syrian refugee with a club, saying the man was harassing Turkish women.

A member can be heard threatening the man. “Either you desert rats leave our country, or we’ll make it your grave,” he said.

The group also called on other Turkish citizens to mobilize against refugees and migrants. “We should end this occupation and shed the blood of other ethnicities,” they said. “Do not be afraid of being called racists or fascists. We will lose our homeland if we aren’t racist today.”

In another video released on Twitter in September a group member wearing a ski mask and fatigues and wielding a knife can be seen holding the ID of an Afghan man. A caption said the group’s Yozgat branch had beaten an Afghan and confiscated his ID card.

In their videos the group repeats that their aim is to shed as much blood as possible for the “Turkish God.” By shedding blood their aim is to revive the Turkish spirit and please their ancestors; therefore, they say they will show their enemies no mercy.

In one social media post the group shared an “attack pyramid” in which they list which groups they will attack in what order. According to the pyramid, Arabs, Kurds, Afghans and Pakistanis were first to be attacked followed by Jews, Blacks and Iranians and finally Armenians, Greeks and other groups.

Human rights groups have expressed concern about the threats newly emerging far-right groups pose to society. Eren Keskin, a lawyer and member of the Human Rights Association (İHD), said the group threatens everyone and not only migrants. “These racists are able to freely share such videos. We are all under threat!” she said.

Erkin Öncan, a journalist for Sputnik’s Turkish service, called the group “terrorists” and warned the public that they were planning further attacks.

Many social media users asked why the authorities were not taking action against the group and how they could freely share such videos on social media.

The worrying videos were released amid increasing anti-migrant sentiment and hate crimes against Syrian and Afghan migrants in Turkey. Refugees in Turkey have been blamed for many of Turkey’s social and economic troubles.

Turkish media including both pro-government and opposition outlets have fueled and exploited the flames of hatred against people who fled their countries and sought refuge in Turkey.

Last week news of three Syrian men being burned to death in western Izmir province emerged.

A Turkish man named Kemal Korkmaz poured gasoline over the Syrians, identified as Mamoun al-Nabhan, 23; Ahmed al-Ali, 21; and Muhammed el-Bish, 17, while they were asleep and set them on fire on Nov. 16. The perpetrator admitted in his testimony to a prosecutor to have committed a hate crime.

Prominent public figures shared their outrage on social media and said the hatred of refugees and migrants had come to a point where they were being set on fire. Some people pointed out that hate crimes had become so normalized in the country that nobody was even talking about the terrible incident.

According to the latest figures provided by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Nov. 22, Turkey is home to a total of 4,038,857 refugees from around the world. Speaking to parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee, Soylu said 3,731,028 of these were Syrian refugees who are residing in Turkey under temporary protection status. The number of refugees with international protection status is 307,829.

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